San Diego Sergio Garcia believes his putting is now good enough to take him to new heights. The first step will be getting past Tiger Woods in the Buick Invitational.
Garcia overcame a double bogey on the second hole that nearly wrecked his round, then hit an 8-iron into five feet for a birdie on the 18th hole Saturday and a 4-under 68, giving him a share of the lead with Rod Pampling of Australia.
They will be joined in the final group today by Woods, a three-time winner at Torrey Pines who shot himself into contention by firing fearlessly at flags for a 67, the best round of the day on the tough South Course.
"It's time for it to happen," Garcia said of his putting, which has kept him from winning more than he has. "It's a new feeling for me, but it's a wonderful one. Hopefully, we can keep it going like this."
Garcia and Pampling, who also birdied the final hole for a 68, were at 11-under 205.
Woods was nowhere near the lead through seven holes and spraying shots all over Torrey Pines until a 7-iron into the eighth green. He made par, but the swing felt the way it should, and Woods seized on it the rest of the round.
He made three straight six-footers, one of them to save par, and lipped out for birdie on the final hole.
He was at 206 with Australian rookie Nathan Green, who shot 69.
"I put myself there with a chance to win tomorrow," Woods said. "There's so many guys with a chance. You have to play your game and see what happens."
Adding to the dynamics of what should be a thrilling conclusion was Phil Mickelson, who was among nine players who had at least a share of the lead at one point Saturday.
"Lefty" made three bogeys on the back nine, but a good putt on the 18th salvaged a 69 and left him only two shots behind, along with Jesper Parnevik and Brandt Jobe.